Are the Atlanta Falcons the NFL's Most Complete Team?
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Today, I'll tell you why I think another team should be added to the mix: the Atlanta Falcons.
Let's not even talk about the fact that Atlanta currently sits atop the league as the last remaining undefeated team at 8-0.
No, instead we'll take a look at the team itself.
It starts at the top with quarterback Matt Ryan. Under the watchful eye of offensive coordinator and play-caller extraordinaire Dirk Koetter, Ryan continues to play the best football of his five-year NFL career.
Ryan has led the Falcons to nearly 28 points scored per game, the seventh-highest mark in the league. That's along with making personal strides as well—having already thrown for over 2,000 yards and 17 touchdowns to just six interceptions this season, Ryan is on pace to smash his personal bests in virtually every passing stat.
And to think Ryan was a simple game manager under ex-coordinator Mike Mularkey, who preferred to put games in running back Michael Turner's hands instead of those belonging to the one and only Matty Ice.
But, of course, it's easy to dominate like Ryan has this season with one of the most talented receiving corps in the league.
From future Hall of Famer Tony Gonzalez, to old reliable Roddy White, to the explosive Julio Jones, the Falcons don't have only one elite No.1 pass-catcher—they have three.
In the ground game, Turner may not be the same runner he was five years ago, but he showed why teams are advised against sleeping on his abilities after Sunday's 102-yard performance.
It's only his second 100-yard game of the season, but that just amplifies this offense's air prowess: defenses know the pass is coming, and still can't stop it.
Not even the league's vaunted fifth-ranked pass defense, which could only watch as Ryan shredded them for 342 yards through the air last Sunday—the first 300-yard game the Cowboys allowed all season.
On defense, Atlanta may be behind Houston, Chicago and San Francisco in terms of lowest points allowed so far this season, but only the Falcons can say they kept the third-best Broncos offense, sixth-best Cowboys offense and seventh-best Redskins offense to just 21, 13 and 17 points, respectively.
More importantly, all of those results have taken a total team effort to achieve, from the likes of rising safety tandem Thomas DeCoud and William Moore, to star linebacker Sean Weatherspoon, to shutdown cornerback Asante Samuel and sack-master John Abraham.
Let's not forget about near-perfect place kicker Matt Bryant, either.
Capping it all off is a coaching staff that has shown an ability to win in more ways than one—from making halftime adjustments against Kansas City, to utterly shutting down San Diego and Philadelphia, to calmly calling comeback victories against the Redskins and Panthers and now outlasting a star-studded Cowboys squad.
It all makes for a team that truly has it all: an elite offense, a defense to be feared, a special teams unit that produces when the game is on the line and a coaching staff that knows how to win.
Whether all of that is enough to propel this franchise from the NFL's most complete team in the regular season to the best in the playoffs is the only question remaining.
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